Twin River III: A Death at One Thousand Steps
by Michael Fields

"I’m not afraid to talk about my dad. I know who he was and what he did."

Michael Fields’ latest Twin River installment channels the energy of its predecessor, Have Guns Will Travel, and ramps it up to the nth degree. While the prior releases are highly recommended, Twin River III is just as spectacular as a stand-alone novel. If fun is defined by non-stop action, then Fields’s narrative is a heavy dose of fun.

Palladin, a mobster turned overseer of high schooler Matt Henry’s well being, is once again front and center in this never-ending barrage of incidents. Many players are return characters led by Vietnam-veteran and current janitor of Twin River High School, Gene Brooks, his son Conner, Matt Henry, and Palladin. This novel marks the emergence of Holden Caulfield-admiring Cody Romano. Cody and Jane, his mother, who is romantically involved with Palladin, move in together to ensure their security from mobster, Don Scavone.

From unprecedented bullet-riddled rescues—from forced participation in pornographic films—to Cody Romano’s perturbing fascination with a prostitute named Filumena, the students of Twin River High School are thrust into an R-rated world that is solely focused on survival. Despite the stories sometimes blunt sexual nature, Fields’s key addition is the inherently romantic nature of the Virgin Heart and the Thousand Steps, a lover’s point type attraction that has gained legendary status in Twin River. Numerous storylines run concurrently; however, it is perhaps most intriguing to see Palladin, only 28 himself, essentially assume fatherly duties and help Matt Henry excise his inner demons. Despite the many characters, the plot line and an engaging back-and-forth dialogue delivery help build character attachments.

On an overarching level, the series has become ground zero for the war between the good guys of Twin River and the filth that has made its way from Philadelphia in search of Palladin and company. Twin River III: A Death at a Thousand Steps is a deceptively quick read and will hold the readers attention from start to finish.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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